Fix + Fast
by Pete Jackson. Also see the main minivan repairs section.
Every once in a while the Town & Country’s brake lights would stick and the cruise control would stop working. It got to the point where the lights were stuck on and the cruise would just quit. The part to be replaced is the brake light switch, NAPA part SL796 or SL796SB — around $13-16 when we checked in 2016.
To do this, you should have a large pair of pliers, a jeweler’s screwdriver set, and a helper to press the brake pedal. Ready?
Remove the lower kick panel/fuse panel cover from under the dash. This panel is held up by two thumbscrews, on per side. A quarter twist in each and the panel falls into your hands.
Follow the brake pedal shaft up to the pivot point (it helps to be a contortionist). Once you see the pivot point, you will find the brake light switch mounted to a bracket attached the pedal pivots (it is to the right of the pedal shaft).
Remove the electrical connection as per instructions on the picture. On the lower part of the switch you will see two blue tangs in wells on each end of the switch; using a key or jeweler screwdriver, depress the two blue tabs, and pull up on the plug.
Push straight up firmly on the bottom rear of the switch to disengage it from the bracket. If you have a pair of pliers with you, grab the back of switch and twist up to release the switch. It comes off rather violently, so watch your fingers....
Now that the switch is out, make sure the bracket isn't bent; it should be roughly parallel with the little tab on the brake pedal, if it's bent, just bend it until its parallel. It's thin metal, so it bends easily.
To install the new switch, hold the switch at a 45° angle to the floor (plug should be on the top, facing the radio) and insert it into the bracket, now twist the switch counter clock wise until it locks into place. You will have to depress the brake pedal to get it in the bracket. This is where a helper is nice.
The switch should then be secure in the bracket. As your helper (or you) let up on the brake pedal you will here the switch ratchet several times (it’s so quick it sounds like one big click) — this is normal as the switch is self-adjusting. Plug the switch back in and re-install the kick panel/fuse cover.
Now put away the tools, kick the helper out of the van and enjoy brake lights and cruise control that work when you want them too.....
This repair took around five minutes.
Repairs and performance •
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